Ho Ho Ho from all of us at Brettuns Village, where we're still waiting
for the ground to freeze up and for decent snow cover. Looking like
a brown Christmas
this year; something nobody writes songs about. Hard to get caught up in the spirit of the season, sort of, and things seem to have changed a bit around here
in a way that more or less snuck up on me this year. I noticed it a week or so ago when I went into town to do some Christmas shopping for my girls (Amanda,
our two daughters, and That Dog)(don't forget the cat - another girl - Sam[antha]) (and probably the fish in Hayster's fish tank are girls too come to
think of it), but this is the first year in a long time that I didn't make a single trip down the Barbie aisle at the toy store. Didn't even make it to the
toy section - these gals are into more grown-up stuff, like clothes, stinkum (my Dad's name for perfume), and music CDs from singing groups or individuals I've
never heard of before. Life marches on. Their Christmas lists changed a lot this year, and mine did too. My list this year was different from any other
I've ever thought up - I made a list of all the things I don't want. Just watch TV or look through all those fliers that get crammed into the newspaper -
they're full of stuff you don't want, and neither do I.
For example - when I get in my pick-up truck to go someplace, I usually
know where I'm going. Post office to see Tom and Brian, wave to Harold,
when I swing past his place, over to O'Brien to pick up more tools for the customers, say hi to Sandy, Ray and Sue over there, gas station maybe, some
groceries. Weekends I might drive to camp on Brettuns Pond, but that's about it. So, item number 1 on my list of Things I Don't Want is any sort of
electronic gadget that sticks to my dashboard and tells me where I am. I know where I am. I know where I'm going. Why would I need that thing sitting there,
running low on battery power (everything that runs on batteries is always low on battery power - am I right or not?), sitting in the exact spot where I could
wedge a good cup of Joe in there between the dash and window. Don't need it. Don't buy it for me. GPS, device with a double name, color mapping functions,
ability to tell you out loud where to turn, or anything else. Pay attention, drive safely, and that's that.
Next - for better or worse I've got a cell phone, and some of you call
me on it from time to time. That's when I get the chance to tell
you that I'm not sure
why I have a cell phone, because where we run the business we're too far away from Maine's only cell phone tower anyway (I think it's on top of the state
house dome over to Augusta). On rare occasion a lost signal will charge out of Massachusetts and zip up here, bouncing around with no real purpose, which is
exactly like Massachusetts tourists when you get right down to it, but the signal comes and goes. Grandma Churchill would have called that cell phone a
'Might Dog': Might bite, might not. Cell phone might work, might not. When it works I like it. When it doesn't work, well, I don't use it. Some day I'll be
glad I have it, when the truck breaks down and I have to call Rob Pratt to come tow me back to the house, and right then and there I'll be so glad I have that
phone, but I can tell you with a clear mind that at no time during that vehicular inconvenience will I stop and think, "Hmmm, I sure wish I had 300
songs stored in this phone," nor, while I'm at it, "If only I could take pictures with it..." What on earth would I do with pictures in my phone? Send
them to someone? Here's me sitting on the side of the road. Here's me kicking the rear bumper out of spite. Here's a close-up of the dent in the front fender
where that wild turkey flew into the truck last Spring. A shot of a Maine Nickel (empty beer can) I found behind a stump. I don't think so. Don't get me
one of those phones, Santa.
I also don't need any of those weird plastic shoes that all the stores
seem to be selling, even tough I don't see anyone buying them. What
are they called?
Named after some aquatic reptile, as I recall, and about as attractive as, hmm, well they just flat are not attractive at all. Not in any of the primary colors
they're available in. Under my tree? No thank YOU.
Don't need music CDs by anyone who's been shot recently, don't need
a small plastic thing that holds 500 songs and slings around my neck, don't
pocket PC that can get e-mails while I'm out of the office or traveling to major sales meetings in Orlando, don't need a tablet PC that I can write on with a pen
and then it knows what I wanted to write (sure - with my penmanship my grocery list could be mistaken for a terrorist threat). Don't need any of them.
I don't need any shirts that only act as advertisements for the company
that sold it to you, ala Witherboomber & Retch, don't need a purse
that is the same
as all the other purses in the world except for the initials in the fabric on the outside ala Carriage or Hooch or Larry Violin or whatever it is; don't need
a camera that takes pictures of my daughters, divides their images into 6.5 Pixel-Pooters and puts these onto a 2 Gigabyte memory card (something else I do
not need and I mean it) so I can go stand in line at the Big Box Store to print them out on a little machine that needs a credit card to bother waking up (what
was so bad about dropping off film and then picking it up a few hours or a few days later? Wasn't it a thrill to wait and see which ones came out OK?), and
this means, in turn, that I don't need a special printer to use at home so I can print out my own 'photo quality' photos, which in turn means that I don't need
those expensive ink/toner/dye/pigment/stain cartridges that cost 1.278 arm/leg equivalents after every 23 pictures. Then, thanks to the fact that I don't want
any of that stuff, I also don't want a device that plugs into the flat screen TV, which I don't want anyway, so that I can see my photos on the television. I
like photo albums. They work fine. Besides, when you plug the camera into the TV and get everyone settled in front of it to see your pictures you know what
happens. Low battery.
I don't want a hunting suit that's filled with activated charcoal so
that my human scent remains non-detectable (I'll bet at least half of you
know this sort of thing existed but it does and now you know that you don't want it anyway); I don't want any clothing that wicks anything away from my skin, and
I don't want boots that have a 'thin membrane of high-tech polymer' in them anywhere, including the heels, because I just flat wasn't raised to be that
demanding of my boots I guess.
I don't want headphones that wrap around the back of my head or fold
up to store in my pocket, nor a flashlight that has a crank handle on it
so that I can
generate power to run it. I also don't want a chain saw, a reciprocal saw, a circular saw, or a worm-drive saw that's powered by batteries, nor a hammer
drill or any other battery-powered tool. You know why. 'Low Battery Alert.'
This list is getting pretty long so I'll knock it off right here.
I know this is late in the shopping season, but I hope this helps you create
your own list
to discuss with your loved ones. I'm telling you that you'll knock them right off their chair when you sit back and say, slowly, "Well, let me tell you some
stuff that I surely do not want this year..."
If you get around to finding time to think about something you really
do want, if any of it falls under the broad headings of stuff we sell here
from the barn,
I hope you know that we'll be right here to help when you're ready. We've got gift certificates available on the site now, by the way, and you can also go
back and read some older editions of this PNL (Pathetic Newsletter). Find the Site Map and you'll see the link from there. That's my holiday shopping blitz
So, what do I really want for Christmas? To watch my kids and
wife together in one room, smiles, laughter, Jenny (That Dog) in the middle
of it all (of course
she has presents under the tree), some Oreos, which manage to show up every year, thanks to Amanda's folks down in Tampa. Socks. The perfect Christmas
We wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, and I truly mean it.
Santa usually hits Maine pretty early in his rounds, so holler on the evening
of the 24th if
you want to get a feel for what he's giving out this year. Battery chargers, probably.
And To All a Good Night;
Churchill Barton, Elf Waxer